WHAT WE NEED IN THE DOWN TIMES
Isaiah 6:1-8 (NKJV)
Isaiah Called to Be a Prophet
6 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
Verse 1 mentions the death of King Uzziah. He was the tenth king of Judah and he was a very godly man. He was highly influenced by the prophet Zechariah and, unlike many of the other kings, he never totally departed from the worship of the true God.
Under his influence, the southern kingdom attained power, wealth and success unlike any it had enjoyed since the days of Solomon. Made heady by his success as king and by his blessings from the Lord, King Uzziah made the mistake of offering incense in the Temple, 2 Chron. 26. The appointed priest’s duty, not for the king to offer incense in the Temple. He was stricken with leprosy by the Lord for his disobedience to the Lord. He died in that leprous condition! Disobedience to the Lord is a serious thing!
Well, evidently, prophet Isaiah is disturbed by the death of the great king. After all, he had reigned for 52 years. His death signaled the end of a time of great prosperity and consistency. For Isaiah and the entire nation, it ushered in a time of uncertainty, change and doubt.
Yet, for Isaiah, this is to be a time of rediscovery. Apparently Isaiah had his attention focused on Uzziah, but now that Uzziah is dead, his attention is redirected back to the Lord. What must have been a down time in the prophet’s life became an “up-time”. That which had helped him so far was removed and Isaiah had a fresh encounter with God. What happened to Isaiah in this event spotlights for us what we need during the down times in our own lives.
We all have down times in life! Those down times can grow us, or they can ruin us, which depends upon what has our attention. Let’s look into these familiar verses and think for a while on the thought What We Need In The Down Times Of Life.
Learning what to do when life turns down will help us to get back up in short order.
I. V. 1-4 WE NEED TO SEE WHAT ISAIAH SAW
A. V. 1 He Saw God’s Position – Isaiah saw God in His sovereignty. An earthly king may have died, but the Lord still reigned. He saw the Lord in all His glory. And, it had a profound impact on the life of Isaiah.
(Ill. When life seems to fall apart at the seams, we need to remember the God Who is in control of it all! What appears to be a tragedy to us on earth may be the greatest thing that could happen in our lives. Ill. Job! Ill. Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17.) (Ill. We need to remember just Who is in control! The LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!)
B. V. 2-3 He Saw God’s Personality – The angelic beings in the temple proclaimed (3) thrice the holy nature of the God of Heaven. Even those sinless creatures were careful to honor the holiness and purity of the Lord. Notice that they covered their faces with their wings. They also proclaimed the glory of the Lord!
Isaiah finally understood that Uzziah might have been a good king, but the Lord was a holy God and He and He alone deserved the glory for all of life!
(Ill. We need to remember that God’s prime characteristic is His holiness! Our duty before the Lord is to honor His holy nature by living holy lives before Him. We are to recognize His right to glory by giving Him all the glory for everything in our lives, 1 Cor. 10:31.)
(Ill. Isaiah learned that this thing was not about Uzziah or Isaiah, but it is all about God! He, and He alone deserves to be in the place of honor and glory!) (Ill. Be careful not to assume that place that belongs to Him alone!)
(Ill. During the down-times of life, we need to remember Who is working all things out of His holiness and for the glory of His Name, James 1:17!)
C. V. 4 He Saw God’s Presence – We are told that the “house was filled with smoke”. This was a symbol of the presence of God. You will notice that God’s “train” filled the temple! That speaks of His robe. God was the central figure in the Temple! Isaiah was reminded, rather forcefully, that Uzziah might be gone, but the Lord was still there! He (Isaiah) had not been forsaken even during this downtime, but the Lord was still with Him in great glory!
(Ill. We need to remember this truth as well! If we are saved, we are never alone, but even during the down-times of life, we still have the presence of the Lord with us at all times, Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5.)
II. V. 5-7 WE NEED TO SENSE WHAT ISAIAH SENSED
A. V. 5 He Sensed His Own Condition – When Isaiah saw the Lord, he instantly realized that there were problems within his own heart. That is what happens when you get close to Him! Moving closer to God and seeing Him as He is, reveals the wickedness and sin in our own lives.
(Note: Isaiah probably thought all was well in his life until he saw the Lord in His glory and holiness. When he did, he was made aware of his own shortcomings! Until we see God and are confronted with our own condition before Him, we will remain haughty and proud, but when we come face to face with Who He is and what we are, it will produce humility and confession!)
(Ill. Isaiah did not cry out “Woe is my neighbor!”. He cried out “Woe is me!” Until we are able to see our own failures and our need for repentance before the Lord, we will never come clean. And, the sooner we come clean with the Lord about our own condition, the sooner we will see our downtime start to turn up!)
B. V. 6-7 He Sensed His Own Cleansing – Thank God, the Lord does not just point out our sins, He also provides a means for our cleansing! With Isaiah, it was an angel with a live coal from the altar. With us, it is the precious blood of Jesus, 1 John 1:7-9! If we ever see Him as He is and we see ourselves as we are, then we will come before Him in humility and confess our sins.
(Note: The closer you get to Him, the worse you look! But, when that realization comes, and we deal with it in repentance before the Lord, we will experience His cleansing and we will be able to stand in His presence and receive all He has for us! Talk about a downtime turning up!)
III. V. 8 WE NEED TO SAY WHAT ISAIAH SAID
A. He Said “I Am Available” – As soon as Isaiah gets His heart clean, he hears the call of the Lord to service. When Isaiah said “Here am I”, he was saying, “My downtime is over and I am ready for service!” He was signifying that he was over the death of Uzziah and that his life was on the altar of sacrifice for the glory of God!
(Ill. That’s what we need to say when life turns down! We need to get our all on the altar for God and come to the place where nothing means anything to us but what He wants from us! We need to submit, surrender and sacrifice to the Lord, Rom. 12:1-2.)
B. He Said “I Am Agreeable” – Isaiah not only told the Lord of His availability, but he also mentioned his “agreeability”! He was saying, “Lord, I am here to do what you want and I am willing to do what you want! Send me and let me go do what you want me to do!”
(Ill. That is a sure way to turn your downtimes upside down! Make yourself available to the Lord and get agreeable with whatever He asks you to do and you can be sure that He will bless your life and that He will use you for His glory!)
(Ill. 15 year old girl in Wales – “I love Jesus” was all she said and the Great Welsh revivals broke out!)
(Ill. Moody’s response to Henry Varley’s statement, “”The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.”)
Friends, the downtimes are going to come in life! You can count on them just as surely as you can count on the sun rising and setting day by day.
However, when they do come, you can shorten their duration and severity by simply seeing what Isaiah saw, sensing what Isaiah sensed and saying what Isaiah said!
A focused heart, a clean heart and a surrendered heart will quickly find itself on the upward path. I know that’s what I want in my life, how about you?
Praise the Lord!